Meditation on Birdsongs

Black-capped_Chickadee

Black-capped_Chickadee at a suet feeder

The welcoming sunlight forced my eyes closed – 
into meditation mode: white-throated sparrow’s simple notes
of three/four; harsh jay’s single screech bu
no Barred Owl’s “Who cooks for you.”
Sets of three-noted refrains – Black-capped Chickadees feeding.

 


I have been trying in recent years to be able to identify some common avian visitors to my neighborhood by their songs. “Songs” may seem grandiose for some of these simple notes. I suspect they are melodic sentences, though they do seem to repeat a chorus or refrain. You can hear these songs at allaboutbirds.org. Perhaps, some birds write haiku, while others prefer free verse or their own kind of villanelles.

Murmurations of Grace

October starlings flocking in swooping, harmonious groups.

Thousands of birds in murmurations above me.

Communicating at a higher level than me.

I will never swirl in the air

or on Earth with such innate grace.

 


If you’re curious about the wonder or the science of murmurations, I have written elsewhere about those aspects. 

 

 

The Halcyon

halcyon bird

“Halcyon” is a name for a bird in Greek legend generally associated with the kingfisher. 

 

Though now a true bird, tropically bright
Asian and African kingfisher with colored plumage,
once a mythical bird said by ancients
to breed in a calmed sea-floating nest
at winter solstice, charming wind and waves.

 


The Halcyon (/ˈhælsiən/) is a genus of the tree kingfishers. In Greek mythology, the goddess Halcyon (Alcyone in Greek) was the daughter of Aeolus, the ruler of the winds.  But the bird in Greek legend was one that nested on the sea, which it was able to calm in order to lay its eggs on a floating nest around the time of the winter solstice. This brought two weeks of calm weather and led to the use of halcyon as a term for peace or calmness.